FORT STEWART, Ga. - In early 1872, Mr. Sterling Morton proposed to the Nebraska Board of Agriculture that a special day be set aside for the planting of trees. This holiday was to be called Arbor Day and was first observed on 10 April 1872. The day was an amazing success with more than one million trees being planted.

In the years following that first Arbor Day, Mr. Morton's idea was adopted by other states. Today, all 50 states have proclaimed their own Arbor Day. In Georgia, our state Arbor Day is honored on the third Friday in February. In addition to the various State Arbor Days, there is also a National Arbor Day which is celebrated on the last Friday in April.

On Dec. 16, the Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield Garrison Commander, Col. Kevin W. Milton, proclaimed Dec. 16 as the Stewart-Hunter Arbor Day for 2010.

This was the second annual Arbor Day for the installation and in honor of this proclamation the Stewart-Hunter Forestry Branch coordinated a tree planting event at Hunter Army Airfield's School Age Youth Services, building 8805.

Forestry supervisor, Mr. TJ Quarles, read and explained the Arbor Day Proclamation to students and staff members. After the reading of the proclamation, Mr. Bob McCarty, forestry technician, planted a live oak tree with the assistance of students and staff members. Mr. Quarles then explained the importance and benefits of trees in our environment.

This tree planting served as an opportunity to educate our youth on the importance of trees and protecting the environment, as a beautification and conservation effort, and also supported the Installation's initiatives as a member of Tree City USA. Many benefits are gained by being a Tree City USA member, such as educational opportunities, a positive public image and citizen pride.

Remember, trees are a vital part of our lives Trees clean the atmosphere, reduce ambient temperature, and promote pride and joy by enhancing the aesthetics of communities across the nation. They provide us with wood for building and warming our homes, as well as food for both people and animals. However, most importantly... they give us the very air we breathe.

Please plant a tree!